#MFRWHooks ~ “She’s Mine.” (@KA_Raines)

For this week’s book hook, I thought I’d share an excerpt from The Infiltrator. In this scene, Keira is evading Seekers, independent contractors working for a human trafficking ring in the wake of the apocalypse. When she’s awakened from her hiding spot in the dead of night, she discovers she’s no longer alone.

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On the fourth night at the cottage, she was jerked rudely awake by a scuffling from above. Her sleep-deprived mind struggled to push back the panic that crept in and settled around her like a dark cloud. One hand closed around the revolver—the one with which she’d first planned to murder her husband—on her stomach as she bolted upright. She trembled beneath her threadbare blanket, nerves frayed as she rose from her pallet, tiptoeing through the pitch black to the bottom of the staircase. She held the revolver with a steady grip while listening to the noises of the cottage above. She was exhausted from only sleeping in two-to-three-hour stretches, but her senses were now fully alert as she detected another distinct shuffling noise followed by the timbre of male voices. Three at least, possibly more.

Her eyes flashed to the single window above the crates stacked in the corner as she considered her possibilities. The frame was narrow, but Keira had been thin even before the world ended. She could simply kill the men in the house above. It was the first suitable shelter she had encountered for miles, and it was an unusually cold night for this early in the season. Even with a roof over her head, the threat of hypothermia was very real, especially since the rain had started again. The ground would be frozen over by morning. Not wasting any more time, she marched to the window and stuffed her meager belongings behind a crate. The men clearly hadn’t yet discovered the cellar door off the small kitchen, but it was only a matter of minutes. Keira would wait outside by the cover of darkness and observe them through the windows, gauge how many she was dealing. She would likely wait until they were sleeping, slit the watchman’s throat, and then slip back inside and silently kill the others. She had long ago learned to do what she had to, and she didn’t stop to think about it. If it was a cruel world before, it had become something unspeakable now.

Keira clamored through the window and pressed herself against the cold stone of the house, eyes darting frantically about. It was dark, the rain still coming down in icy sheets, shocking her system, and rendering objects in her line of vision little more than shapeless masses.

“Weapons on the ground, and hands where I can see ‘em.”

The voice came from in front of her and slightly to the left, little more than a low growl that caused an involuntary shiver down her spine.

Her eyes shot in the speaker’s direction and her hands instinctively tightened on the switchblade in her left hand and the gun in her right. Her heart stuttered as panic seized it in an icy grip. Yet outwardly she remained calm. She’d dealt with Seekers more than once, but she’d take the Ghosts any day.

“Easy there.” He was stalking toward her slowly, and the large blur grew distinct, shaping into a lean, powerful frame and broad shoulders. A weapon—a rifle—was aimed at her center mass. “Don’t wanna hurt ya.” He was mere feet away now. Keira couldn’t see his eyes beneath a mop of shaggy dark hair, plastered to his face by the downpour.

“Whatcha got there, Derrick? That a woman?”

Her pulse fluttered in genuine fear at the second voice; there was something in it that chilled her blood, something unmistakably hard—and well-suited for this world.

“Nah, man,” the first man snarled as the second jogged out of the tree line, aiming some sort of bow at her. The rifleman’s free hand came up, stopping his companion forcefully in his tracks as he attempted to move forward and get a better look at Keira. “She’s mine.”

Buy HERE ~ Only $2.99 and always FREE on Kindle Unlimited!

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A virus has rendered humanity mostly extinct. Keira Starr is alone, staying alive by staying on the run, sleeping in empty gas stations and the trunks of cars long abandoned on the highway. The world is overrun by “Ghosts,” the mindless, bloodthirsty dead, but they are the least of her problems. She is being hunted by ragtag groups of ruthless men, independent contractors working for a mysterious human trafficking ring. When she is finally captured, she discovers that Derrick Caine, despite his gruff demeanor and appearance, may just have a different agenda altogether.

M/F, erotic romance, dystopian, post-apocalyptic, sci-fi/fantasy

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#MFRWHooks ~ Sweeter Than Peaches (@KA_Raines)

For this week’s book hook, I thought I’d share an excerpt from The Infiltrator.

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He entered the kitchen, finding it abandoned since dinner had technically wrapped up an hour ago. Food was left on the serving line for the returning groups and for people coming off their watch rotations. Only a single server and dishwasher remained, the latter of whom was currently out in the hall playing a rather boisterous game of poker. The remainder of the kitchen crew had already finished up and gone back to their respective rooms to enjoy the remainder of the evening or else to get ready for their watches.

He found her in the back by the freezer, standing on the tips of her toes and reaching for a bowl of peaches on a high shelf. He moved up behind her stealthily, barely brushing his body against her back as he reached up and plucked a peach from the bowl.

Keira jumped in alarm and wheeled around, one hand shooting to the base of her throat. “Jesus, you scared me.”

“Shouldn’t let your guard down—not even in here,” he admonished. “An’ I ain’t Jesus.” He took a bite from the peach, not bothering to put any distance between their bodies as he stared down at her wide eyes and parted lips. Lips that looked even sweeter than the peach. He wanted to take a bite, but he refrained. “Whatcha doin’ back here?”

“They were out of fresh fruit,” she said, swallowing noticeably. “I was making you a tray…and they only had the canned stuff left out there.”

He grunted. “Mighty thoughtful of ya.” He took another bite from the peach, the deliciousness exploding over his tongue as the juice drizzled down his chin.

They were staring at each other, the heated tension between them as thick as butter when Keira leaned up rather abruptly, her tongue darting out and tracing the trail of juice that had escaped his mouth. He growled at the raw, wet feeling of her tongue on his unshaven jaw, which elicited a jolt straight to his crotch. His hands going to her hips, he roughly hefted her up onto the countertop while squeezing her ass and stepping between her legs that instinctively splayed for him.

“You stayin’?” he growled, lips on her ear as he nipped her lobe—hard.

Keira gasped at the sweet pain, hands going around his back and working their way under his tee while her legs wrapped tightly around his waist. “Haven’t decided yet,” she whispered, a tremor in her voice, and it was obvious that it had taken her a moment to process what he was asking.

Her whole body trembled against his in clear anticipation, and Derrick growled again, overwhelmed by the idea that she was as desperate for him as he was for her, but he was conflicted. This couldn’t end well. He wanted her to stay, but he didn’t know why. He didn’t want to want her to stay, and if they did this it would fuck up his head even more. He couldn’t give her what she deserved; he simply didn’t have it in ‘im. And he wouldn’t use her to scratch an itch, either.

With a force of will he hadn’t realized he possessed, he took a half-step back, and her legs slid from around his waist, releasing him only reluctantly. She literally moaned in disappointment and bit her bottom lip.

Fuck. He had to leave. Now. ‘Cause if he didn’t, there was no going back. He was gonna fuck her right here on this countertop, and that would be that, consequences be damned.

Derrick picked up the abandoned tray of food on the counter next to her as she stared up at him with lust-clouded, confused eyes. Her chest was still heaving when she slid to the floor on noticeably shaky legs.

“Nah,” he growled, more certain of his words than he had been of anything in a long while. “Y’ain’t leavin’. Are ya?” He took another bite of the peach, turned around, and left her there staring after him with ill-disguised yearning. He didn’t know where this was going, and he didn’t know why he cared, but fuck if the woman hadn’t already fucked up his head. He was gonna eat, get himself off again, and then sleep for a goddamn week—and put off the inevitable for as long as he could.

Buy HERE ~ Only $2.99 and always FREE on Kindle Unlimited!

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A virus has rendered humanity mostly extinct. Keira Starr is alone, staying alive by staying on the run, sleeping in empty gas stations and the trunks of cars long abandoned on the highway. The world is overrun by “Ghosts,” the mindless, bloodthirsty dead, but they are the least of her problems. She is being hunted by ragtag groups of ruthless men, independent contractors working for a mysterious human trafficking ring. When she is finally captured, she discovers that Derrick Caine, despite his gruff demeanor and appearance, may just have a different agenda altogether.

M/F, erotic romance, dystopian, post-apocalyptic, sci-fi/fantasy

Thanks for stopping by! I’d love to hear from you!

Kari

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Cover Reveal ~ Arresting Jeremiah by Amber Daulton (@AmberDaulton1)

Title: Arresting Jeremiah
Author: Amber Daulton
Series: Arresting Onyx (book 2)
Publisher: The Wild Rose Press
Cover Reveal: September 23rd, 2020
Release Date: October 14th, 2020
Genre: Romantic Suspense
Length: 98k
Heat Rating: 5 Flames

Tags: woman in jeopardy, man in jeopardy, single mom, family, violent ex, investigations, police procedural, criminals, gangs, drugs, urban romance, HEA, no cliffhangers, standalone, series

Blurb

Injured Parole Officer Jeremiah “Jim” Borden never expected Calista Barlow, the sassy blonde waitress he’s craved for months, to ring his doorbell. She slips into his heart—and his bed—but he’s obsessed with a gangland investigation that threatens his career and maybe even his life.

Calista doesn’t trust easily, not with a daughter to protect and the stalker who keeps calling her. After her violent ex-boyfriend returns, she finds solace in Jim’s arms.

Jim may have to forego his need for answers to protect the ready-made family he adores, but how will he and Calista escape an unseen enemy that is always one step ahead of them?

Tagline – When threats escalate, will Jim and Calista succumb, or fight for a love they can’t deny?

PreOrder Links

Amazon ~ Barnes and Noble ~ Apple ~ Kobo ~ Google Play ~ Universal Link

Add to Goodreads

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Excerpt

He hated to upset Calista all over again, but he had to know. “What were you thinking when you tried on the necklace?”

Air whizzed through her teeth. Silence stretched between them as they walked toward the diner. She sighed, her voice soft. “No offense, but I don’t know or trust you enough to let you in that much. I’ve made some mistakes—things I don’t want to talk about. Give me some time.”

Trust? He couldn’t blame her for that. If he demanded to know her secrets, he had to tear down the barbwire he’d erected around his.

No. That couldn’t happen. His life depended on his silence. Did her private thoughts and memories hinge on life and death too? His stomach twisted. Nothing bad would happen to her, not if he was around to stop it.

“What can you tell me?” Hell, only an asshole would ask something like that without opening up in return.

“The necklace reminded me of something I once wanted more than anything. Not the pearls itself, but what it represented. I couldn’t have it because I wasn’t good enough.” She pulled from his grasp and wrapped her arms around her middle.

“I’m sorry I forced you to try on the necklace. I thought you liked it. All women deserve something that makes them feel pretty.” The stench of oil filled his nose, and he sneezed. He glanced at the noisy passing cars and pulled Calista farther back along the sidewalk, away from a puddle in the road, before a vehicle splashed them. “I understand about lack of trust and the need for secrecy. I hope someday you can tell me what happened, but I do know one thing, even if you never tell me. You were good enough. You always have been and will always be.”

Her blue-green eyes widened. She traced her fingertips over his smooth jaw, leaving sparks in her wake.

“You’re so kind. I almost believe it when you say it. God, I wish I’d met you years ago, Jeremiah.”

“Why do you call me Jeremiah? Everyone else calls me Jim.”

“It feels more personal, as though you belong only to me. I may have to share Jim with the rest of the world, but Jeremiah—the strong, kind man I’ve admired over the past several months—is all mine.”

Her admission branded him like a fire poker to his skin. If he were alone, he’d beat his chest and roar. No woman had ever wanted to claim him. No one but her ever called him Jeremiah.

He coughed, clearing his throat. “Friday is only two days away, but I can’t wait that long. Let’s get in my car and go to a park, somewhere private, to talk.”

“Talk? Is that code for necking like teenagers?”

“I’m game if you are, but I don’t want to be rushed. We’ll have time for kissing and touching later.”

She pecked his cheek. “We better go before the rain starts again.”

He grasped her hand and they hurried back to the diner.

Official Book Trailer for Arresting Jeremiah

YouTube – https://youtu.be/jIsVXB1B_Pg

Great news! Arresting Mason, book one in the Arresting Onyx series, is on sale for .99 cents. Limited Time Only!

Find it here: https://books2read.com/u/m2vvY7

Release Tour Sign Ups

I’m working with the wonderful Maia from Silver Dagger Tours to host the release of Arresting Jeremiah. Readers, authors, and bloggers alike—we would love to have you on board for the month-long tour, beginning on October 14th.

There is also the option to review before the book goes LIVE!

Find out more here: https://www.silverdaggertours.com/tour-sign-ups/arresting-jeremiah-tour-sign-ups

About the Author

Amber Daulton is the author of the romantic-suspense series Arresting Onyx and several standalone novellas. Her books are published through The Wild Rose Press, Books to Go Now, and Daulton Publishing, and are available in ebook, print on demand, audio, and foreign language formats.

She lives in North Carolina with her husband and demanding cats.

Social Media Links

#MFRWHooks ~ Knight in Shining Leather (K.A. Raines)

Hi, everyone! I’m currently working on a couple of WIPs, but I’d like to share an excerpt from a romantic suspense novel I’m hard at work on. I’m super excited because it’s quite different from my debut novel. While it deals with serious subject matter, the heroine is spunky and quirky, and there’s going to be plenty of banter + sexual tension (my two favorite things). This work is as-yet untitled, but I’m looking at a released of early next year (if all goes according to plan).

It was nearing midnight as I walked to my car—or, rather, gracelessly plodded through the icy sludge accumulated on the sidewalk, impacted at certain intervals to the point of being dangerously slickened. Especially in these fucking shoes. And where the hell had I parked my damned car, anyway? I was sure I’d left it on the corner, in front of the crappy little all-night cafe where some of the others would fruitlessly attempt to sober up before heading home to their families.

“Elle—hey, wait up—!”

I rolled my eyes and kept walking. I wanted to snap, “It’s Detective Roshan,” but it felt petty, so I ignored him, finally spotting my car crammed between an SUV and a truck so needlessly large it seemed its asshat owner couldn’t not be compensating. Perfect. Just how the hell was I supposed to get out of that spot without ramming one of those monstrosities? “What do you want, Agent West?” I conceded with a sigh as he caught up. Agent Jackass, my mind supplied. A beer didn’t make up for that.

“Easy, there.” He let out what I’m sure he felt was a disarming laugh. “Just wanted to make sure you made it to your car okay.”

I stopped in my tracks, torn between annoyance and…well, annoyance. When I finally turned to face him, I was unprepared for how close he was. It was my stupid, impractical, and absurdly overpriced shoes combined with the beer—so, maybe I’m a lightweight—and most decidedly not his closeness that caused me to stumble and nearly land on my ass on the icy pavement.

When he reached out and grabbed my elbow to steady me, I attempted to yank it back, and all that managed to accomplish was somehow I now had a face-full of very hard chest. A very hard chest that smelled like leather and cologne. Not altogether unappealing, I had to admit. I stiffened as his arms tightened around my waist; I’d say instinctively, but I had a feeling he knew exactly was he was doing. I was just about to demand that he release me when I saw it, just behind his right shoulder as it passed and made a left-hand turn at the intersection: a 1980’s-style station wagon, the kind with the wooden side panels, completely not discreet. I had almost thought it was a joke when two separate eyewitnesses had reported seeing a similar vehicle at two of the murders. It was such a movie stereotype it was laughable—but apparently, no. No joke. This killer either took how-to notes from lame daytime TV or he wanted to get caught.            

At any rate, if it hadn’t been for the alcohol still coursing through my veins—and the fact that I was still flustered from West’s attention, which I hate admitting—I might have noticed that this couldn’t be a coincidence. But I was a big, fat fucking idiot. A slightly intoxicated big, fat fucking idiot.

Thanks for reading! I’d love to hear what you think!

-Kari

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Bio

Hi, I’m Kari. I live in Longview, Texas with my children and cat. I have a passion for many things, including but not limited to red wine, horror movies, roller coasters, traveling, long walks on the beach, and pina colada. Oh, and getting caught in the rain. Naturally.

I realize that I’m a newcomer to the world of published fiction, but I’ve been a writer and avid reader since I first discovered my love of science fiction and all things Star Wars at the age of 11 or 12, a passion that evolved to encompass paranormal and horror in my teens when I found Stephen King and Anne Rice. Eventually, my tastes further grew to incorporate romance and erotica, and now my own writing is a strange hodgepodge of all the above-mentioned genres.

Despite having harbored a love of writing for so long, it took me a  long time to stop listening to the voice in my ear telling me to pursue something “practical” and do what I genuinely love. And then, of course, life happened. I joined the Navy shortly out of high school, and during that period, I did a lot of reading—I fell absolutely in love with the Harry Potter novels—but one thing I didn’t do a lot of was writing. After separating from active duty and getting married in 2006, I promptly began having children. I started writing again but didn’t attempt to publish anything. I experienced quite a bit of “success”—as embarrassing as it is to say now—as a Twilight fanfiction author, and that’s when I discovered J.R. Ward and the paranormal romance genre. Around the same time, I entered a writing contest judged by New York Times bestselling novelist Cassandra Clare, who chose my entry as a finalist.

I had just begun an original paranormal romance novel when, once again, life got in the way. I ended up divorced rather suddenly with two small children in tow, and I had to figure out how to start over. Since then, I’ve had other major life hurdles. I’ve gone back to school. Twice. First, I went to one of those vocational schools to obtain my medical assisting certification (I needed something fast). Then I pursued my BA in English from the University of Texas, almost a full twenty years after most people obtain their bachelor’s degrees. In the meantime, I’ve opted to remain single, worked to support my children as a medical assistant, and finally, years after my divorce, managed to complete a publishable novel. More often than not, I feel like Melissa McCarthy in Life of the Party, but that’s okay. I I have the satisfaction of knowing that I’ve pushed through on sheer determination.